What a great movie! Who would have thought anyone could bring the original screen musical back from the dead? Yet here it is, hale and hearty.
The music is melodic but never simplistic; the lyrics are intelligent and intelligible; the script is funny, touching without ever resorting to sentimentality; the two leads are not only skillful but full of a kind of charm that I honestly thought had disappeared entirely from American movies: but here we have Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone just oozing it.
The only pebbles in this ocean of inventiveness are some routine dance routines and over-reliance on the device of lights dimming on set to isolate an actor in white light, but that's me being r-e-a-l-l-y picky. It may well be that this is the best musical written directly for the screen since SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS.
All credit to writer-director Damien Chazelle and his team - and it really feels like a team-movie - for giving us this gem. Sure it's a feelgood piece, but it creates a world which is complex, it acknowledges alternative outcomes for its characters, it connects with people's passions, and in the case of Ms Stone's big solo, "Audition", it has a bona fide classic.